For remote work, the emphasis should be less on how many days people should be in the office and more about what tasks are better performed with people physically present.
Some tasks require individual responsibility while some tasks require collaborative effort.
Tasks requiring deep work and concentration by an individual are considered individual tasks. Examples include, analysing data, writing reports and researching. Individual tasks are best done alone.
Collaborative tasks include brainstorming, socialising and mentoring. Collaborative tasks are best done with others.
Individual tasks can be done at home or any location that is suitable for deep work. Collaborative tasks can be done in an office or any location deemed suitable for effective collaboration.
With the emphasis on effectiveness and sometimes efficiency, it becomes clearer which activities are better performed virtually and which activities are better executed on-site. For example, with my team, tasks deemed as collaborative are; monthly performance reviews, training workshops and socialisation. Most other activities are deemed to be executed more effectively or efficiently alone or virtually.
For example, on-site training programmes are collaborative, they happen in-person, thus, the persons responsible for coordinating these programmes have to be on-site on training days. Same with monthly performance reviews or socials. Sometimes on-site in in a client’s office because the activity is scheduled outside our premises e.g customised training workshops.
Daily stand up meetings are done virtually, first thing in the morning. They are collaborative but they are also short meetings that aren’t worth commuting into the office for. Everyone in the team attends and everyone can get on with their work once these meetings are over.
With this model, we don’t mandate days like 2 or 3 days a week. Everyone knows that certain activities require on-site presence. If those activities happen 3 days a week, then the team is in 3 days that week. If those activities happen 2 days in a month, then we are in 2 days in a particularly month.
Your organisation can have guidelines on frequency of certain collaborative activities e.g. weekly performance reviews, quarterly team bonding sessions. These will depend on your organisations values and needs.
What’s working for your remote team?